The driver of the vehicle tried to tell the border patrol that it was only a cat.
A Bengal tiger cub was rescued from a vehicle at the Mexican/San Diego border on Wednesday reports Fox 5.
An 18-year-old male from Perris drove into the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and about 1:30 am on Wednesday. He was driving a 2017 Chevy Camero. He was also accompanied by a 21-year-old man in the passenger seat.
Both men said they had nothing to declare, but they were summoned to a second inspection area after there was a concern about the vehicle’s identification number.
It was at this check point that officials discovered a baby tiger lying on the floor on the passenger side. When questioned, the men said it was just a cat, according to an affidavit filed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Eduardo Nieves.
Officers placed the cub in an animal crate.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Luis Eudoro Valencia, he was taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, he was released after he posted a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on September 5.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents took the tiger to the San Diego Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo ambassador Joan Embery said that the infant will need proper care because he isn’t in the wild.
Bengal tigers are listed as an endangered species.
Border patrol officials say the last attempt to smuggle a tiger into the U.S. from Mexico happened 20 years ago. That cat was eventually named Bianca and also lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.